Microsoft Soundscape app: a free O&M app

Featured Image: 
Microsoft Soundscape logo

Microsoft Soundscape is a free iOS app that provides travelers who are visually impaired or blind information about places around them in the environement. Soundscapes will announce names of stores, streets and the direction you are traveling. This app is designed to "fill in the gaps" in the traveler's mental map. Soundscape can be used in the background with turn-by-turn navigation apps. Soundscape creates a 3D audio map as you travel through the environment.

There are three buttons on the bottom of the screen:

  • My Location: provides information about your current location, direction facing, nearby streets and intersections and nearby points of interest.
  • Around Me: provides information about one thing in each direction (ahead, right, behind and left).
  • Ahead of Me: provides five pieces of information about things coming up on either side of the street.

Screenshot of Soundscape app: beacon for Alabama Theatre is set; three buttons at the bottom of the screen are: My Location, Around me and Ahead of Me.

Add a Destination Beacon to provide an audible beacon sound from the direction of the beacon. This provides directional information ('as the crow flies'), not turn-by-turn information - about the direction of the desired destination. You can set any business or point of interest as a beacon as long as it appears in the Soundscape mapping system (Open Street Map).  Note: The Destination Beacon is not a physical iBeacon that has to be placed in the desired location. The Beacon sound will get louder as you get closer to the destination.

Add a Reference Point as an orientation landmark to help confirm your route as you travel. Soundscapes will announce this reference point as you approach it.

The video below demonstrates people using the Soundscape app.



Posted by Diane BraunerMar 22, 2018

Personally, I have not yet tried Soundscapes with a beacon: however, on the Soundscapes website under FAQ, it states that the Bluetooth Beacons in the  'Callouts' refer to Bluetooth beacons which have been tagged in an indoor environment and are available through Open Street Map, so it sounds like the answer is yes!  Let me know if you have a chance to try this feature!


Posted by Diane BraunerMar 23, 2018

I'm unable to find this in my AppStore. Is this app available in Canada? - L

Currently, the Microsoft Soundscapes app is avialable in the US and UK for iOS devices. - Diane